Turkey calls EU, Council of Europe to raise voice on Netherlands’ breach of rights

Turkey calls EU, Council of Europe to raise voice on Netherlands’ breach of rights

Serkan Demirtaş - ANKARA
Turkey calls EU, Council of Europe to raise voice on Netherlands’ breach of rights

AA photo

Turkey has called on the European Union and the Council of Europe to raise their voices on the Netherlands’ alleged breach of fundamental freedoms and European human rights convention, accusing the Dutch government of causing a crisis in international law with its violence against Turkish demonstrators and a member of the Turkish government, according to EU Minister Ömer Çelik.
“There is a need to altogether stand against these kinds of actions. Turkey will do whatever is necessary, but the European Union and the Council of Europe should condemn these incidents and adopt exclusionary actions,” Çelik told the Ankara bureau chiefs of media outlets on March 13. 

Çelik said the Dutch government’s refusal to permit a Turkish minister to enter Turkey’s consulate in Rotterdam and the use of force against Turkish demonstrators on March 11 was an open violation of the European Convention on Human Rights even though all CoE members were committed to its implementation.  

“The detention of our chargé d’affaires and barring our ministers from going to our consulate constitute a crime. This is also the violation of values we share with the EU. That’s why the EU should pursue a sensitive and efficient policy. If this incident is underestimated and tolerated, then the EU can no longer be considered as a political union,” he said. 

Recalling a statement issued by the EU’s Federica Mogherini and Johannes Hahn suggesting that Turkey should avoid excessive statements, Çelik said this was a clear indication that both EU officials have misread the developments in Netherlands.   

“This is not the statement anticipated from EU’s special representative. If this statement talks about mutual efforts to avoid tension, then it will have no influence at all,” he said, recalling that it was the Netherlands that violated laws and not Turkey. 

Çelik also underlined that he was disturbed with calls for restraint from both sides given the fact that it was the Dutch government that used force against demonstrators and “violated all human rights conventions.” 

Turkey to impose sanctions 

Turkey will not leave the Netherlands’ actions unanswered, Çelik said, adding that there would certainly be sanctions imposed but he did not provide further details. 

“Some of Turkey’s European rivals and non-European rivals are trying to turn this crisis into the complete collapse of Turkey’s ties with the West. We should not turn this process into a detachment [with Europe to the advantage of far-right. What is essential for us is Turkey’s interests,” he said. 

“The steps we will take should be in a way to protect our national honor,” Çelik said. “If we respond to Netherlands in the same way, then it would reduce Turkey to a lower league. We won’t do this.”

EU will change 

It will be impossible for the EU to continue its path under the current conditions, and it has to decide how it will look like after elections in key European countries and Brexit, Çelik said, adding that this search might give new opportunities to Turkey in a new EU structure. 

The Netherlands, France and Germany are also holding elections amid concerns that 2017 will be a year marking the rise of far-right and racist political parties. 

Migrant passages over land   

Asked whether Turkey would revise its efforts to stop irregular migrants using the Aegean Sea to cross into Greece, Çelik recalled that the EU had not fulfilled its requirements stemming from a deal between Ankara and Brussels. 

“At this moment, we have no obligation to stick to the agreement but we are doing so due to humanitarian assessments. In one sense, Turkey is saving the honor of humanity. But when it comes to the passages by the land, I am of the opinion that Turkey should revise this situation because Europe is not doing its share,” he said.  

A deal between Turkey and the EU stipulates that the former will prevent immigrants from crossing to Greek islands through joint mechanisms in return for the provision of visa exemptions to Turkish nationals, financial aid and an acceleration of Turkey’s EU accession process. None of these steps have yet to be fully implemented.